Air Law

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What do aviation lawyers do?

Aviation lawyers provide commercial, regulatory and insurance advice and litigation services to the world’s airlines, manufacturers and financiers. Aircraft leasing and finance are key areas of activity, but issues also arise in relation to competition and state aid, insolvency and restructuring, emissions trading rules and aviation disasters.

The space industry is on the verge of another giant leap forward so these lawyers are in pole position to advise the companies and governments poised to take more satellites, probes and leisure passengers into orbit.

Where can I work as an aviation lawyer?

Aviation lawyers typically work in:

  • law firms or consulting firms with an aviation and space law practice
  • legal departments of airports, airlines and aerospace companies
  • civil aviation authorities
  • ministries of transportation
  • space organisations like the European Space Agency
  • academia

With the liberalisation of the European aviation laws and the growing number of actors operating in outer space, the already high demand for experts in this field is only expected to increase.

What do aviation lawyers do?

As an aviation lawyer you could be:

  • Provide advice on regulatory, operational and commercial issues from a legal point of view
  • Advise on employment issues, both for flight and ground crew
  • Provide legal advice and support in accidents, incidents and other types of distress
  • Give advice and represent owners and lessees on aircraft financing and leasing transactions
  • Assist and advice in registrations, deregistrations, mortgages, leases and similar matters in the aircraft registry
  • Advise on aviation industry contracts such as with MROs, ground handlers, airport and air navigation services providers
  • Advise and assist on setting up of operations bases, AOCs, setting up of local entities
  • Advise and assist in preparation and execution of charters, wet and dry leasing agreements.

LLM Degrees in Aviation Law

LLM programs in Aviation Law equip students with a deep understanding of air and space law in the public and private sectors. Courses may cover the variety of challenges and issues the industry faces and how to make sure corporations remain in compliance with industry regulations. Instructors may focus heavily on the law as it relates to sustainability, passenger safety, environmental protection, fair competition, the use of drones, accident investigation and the militarization of outer space.

Graduates of these programs tend to possess strong analytical and problem-resolution skills, both of which can serve them well in law or any other field they choose to enter. Additionally, participants of the program have a deeper understanding of aviation regulations and how they impact consumer and user safety.

The cost of an LLM varies. Where a person lives, whether he or she wants to attend a college out of state or out of country and the duration of the program will all have an effect on the final cost of tuition. The best courses are offered by Leiden University in the Netherlands and McGill’s Institute of Air & Space Law:

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